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Posted on 10-18-2016

Can I Give My Dog Bones?

Did you hear the one about the dog who swallowed 13 chicken hot wings? When she was X-rayed at the emergency clinic, her belly was full of bones. The owners had to have her hospitalized to stay hydrated and on pain control and have her X-rayed a couple more times over the next few days to make sure the bones were dissolving and not causing a blockage.

Dogs will eat bones any time of year, but the holiday season seems to be a particularly common time for them to dig into the trash or steal meat with bones off the table. Some people even give leftover turkey and chicken bones to dogs as treats.  Bones are a bad idea from the start. Cooked bones can splinter, puncturing the digestive tract or cause severe pain when being passed. Larger bones can easily cause an intestinal blockage, which may require emergency surgery to remove the bone. Often times we see oddly shaped bones- such as a T-bone- getting lodged on the roof of the mouth, or in the esophagus, causing choking and gagging.

One of the most common problems veterinarians see with bones is that when dogs chew them, they can easily fracture a tooth, causing pain and later lead to infection or a root abscess. That can mean an expensive repair or extraction.

Still not convinced? Here are five more good reasons to avoid giving your dog a bone:

-Bones can cause bloody mouth or tongue injuries.

-Round bones can become stuck around your dog’s lower jaw and may require a veterinary visit to remove.

-Bone fragments that pierce your dog’s stomach or intestines can cause serious bacterial infections that are difficult to treat and can even be fatal.

-Bones and bone fragments can cause your dog to become severely constipated.

-Bone fragments can be sharp, causing pain and bleeding from the rectum as your dog passes them.

To protect your dog from an emergency this holiday season, don’t leave bones in your kitchen trash can.  Immediately take them to an outside garbage can that your dog cannot access. If you’re preparing the roast beast for a holiday meal and are leaving it out to come to room temperature after cooking, don’t assume your dog can’t get to it on the kitchen counter. Place it well out of his reach.

Finally, always say “thanks, but no thanks” to well-meaning friends, relatives and neighbors who want to give your dog a bone.

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